Belfast Telegraph

Retail visits recover in May after seeing major fall in April

By Staff Reporter

Footfall at Northern Ireland's retailers grew up 0.5% during May in the fastest growth for a year, according to a survey today.

The research from Springboard and the British Retail Consortium said the growth was well above the three-month average of a 3% decline, and the 12-month average of 2.8% decline.

And despite a series of collapses in the retail sector - with House of Fraser the latest retailer to announce closures - footfall was up 2.2% on the high street, and by the same level in retail parks.

But it was down 4.6% in shopping centres.

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director Springboard, said: "It would be highly premature to regard the improvement in Northern Ireland's footfall to 0.5% in May from a drop of 7.3% in April as any form of bounce back.

"Instead at least in part it is likely to be a consequence of shopping trips being deferred from April - when the weather continued to be cold and wet -into May.

"It might also be regarded as a reflection of consumer demand resulting from the two May bank holidays which anchored the month at both ends.

"In reality, however, footfall actually declined in both bank holiday weeks, reflecting a long term trend identified by Springboard of the lessening in importance of public holidays for retail."

Last week department store giant House of Fraser announced it was closing 31 out of its 59 stores around the UK. However, its Belfast store - the flagship in the Victoria Square Shopping Centre - remains open.

Belfast Telegraph

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